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Published:July 13th, 2008 10:35 EST

Addicts of Time

By Rex Owen Waide, Jr.

What does it mean when I can`t function properly when I`m not on drugs? I feel depressed, emotionally unable to stay in a world of hypocrisy and contradictions. I can`t always hear these lies, these words of betrayal, these mountains of sarcasm, and rivers of filthy promises, but I know they`re there. They stream out of the ethers while I sleep and burrow themselves into my brain as I fade into unconscious/subconscious thinking. When I wake up I am bombarded by this feeling of overwhelming dissociation form this world. Ironically, I am the exact same as every lie, betrayal, sarcastic remark, and filthy promise. In fact, I am the embodiment of these catastrophic catalysts.

I try to take a look at all the things that have become catalysts in my state of addiction and addictive personality. Most of what I hear--the lies, betrayal, sarcastic remarks, and filthy promises--is what I say and do. All the words I hear while I fade to sleep are my own words being shoved into my brain as a guilty message of what I`ve done. I have come to realize over a lengthy five years is that I do all these things that trigger me to use " because they are all I know. I always believed it was my father`s fault. He passed away, suicide, when I was eleven. For some reason I always believed his death was my fault; I still believe that. So during these last five years while my addictions have escaladed, I hid behind the reasons that my father`s death gave me. It is not my father`s fault completely, it is our culture and society. In reality I was hiding behind my father`s death and using it as a way to mask my own struggles. Instead of saying I am a liar; I am a betrayer; I am a sarcastic punk; I am a filthy promiser, I hid.

I take a further look at why I am so easily tempted to pop a pill or smoke a cigarette or guzzle down a few shots. I`ve always had this personality of addiction but not until I hit puberty did it come out to play. This monster I have become is a result of my own, at most times, unnecessary anxiety. After my father`s death (yes, I still use the dead dad excuse sometimes but it helps explain) I started to realize that my life is meaningless in the grander scheme of things, while at the same time the most important thing ever. To a child in Russia I am a nobody, but to my mother I am a child that has yet to be tainted by society`s corruption. To a student in Gibraltar I am nonexistent, but to my sisters I am a figure of importance and support--I am their brother. While on one side of the spectrum I am meaningless (the left side), the other side is equally filled with reason and importance (the right side).

Knowing the spectrum is constant does not help my anxiety. I constantly wonder where people fall on the spectrum. Sometimes I ask my self where I fall on that spectrum, not only my own but others` as well. For some people I am the left side, and for others I am the right. But not knowing exactly where I belong is what drives my impending anxiety. I will probably never know the answers to where I am, and that creates a feeling of self-loathing for me. I think it goes the same for other people as well. Now, in this era of high-speed Internet and instantaneous communication, answers are quick and constant. We no longer have to be patient and wait for the results of a test or the answer to a question; we ask and quickly it is answered. We as a people have the time to wait, but no longer want to wait. We need an instant answer to project the next action of our lives. For me the only answer I want is to understand this damn spectrum that seems to tag-a-long with me wherever I go and with whatever I do. I can never find this out. The answer will never be revealed. It is a mystery of the cosmos and microcosm of everybody in the world.

And this brings me back to my addictions, as well as the world`s addictions. I, and I believe so does everyone else, try to suppress confusion with busy work. Some people play football, run track, play cards, work on Wall Street for thirty hour days, become nannies and butlers, while I pop pills and smoke. We are all addicts, it only depends how we channel that addiction that defines us as individuals.

A month ago I ran into a friend that deferred his options to go to school to go straight to working full-time and providing for himself. I asked him why school wasn`t an important option for him. He responded with the words of an addict. I can go when I need to, but right now I like to work. I say these are an addict`s words because in reality they are if you switch some words around. I can prove it. If someone asked me to stop smoking or popping pills and focus only on my writing, art, and school I would respond with: I can stop when I need to, but right now I like to live life freely. Honestly, as the words would form from the contours of my tongue and lips, I would know I am lying. I would be lying about more than most people can understand. I cannot stop when I want to; right now I don`t like to live freely because living under drugs is not living free at all--you are a slave; and right now I don`t even like living at all even if instant freedom from drugs was an option. I think this is because I have used them as a crutch for so long that I would not know how to deal with myself off of these substances.

My situation is the same for everyone in the world, most predominantly the US though. People work their entire lives at school and careers. I think both, school and career, are ways to keep the void from swallowing us whole. You look at people in their thirties that complain about working long hours or not enough, moan and whine about waking early and sleeping late, groan about Mondays and laugh in glee for Fridays. Now take a look at people in their retirement years sitting hopelessly in their homes watching Days of Our Lives while trying to figure out what to do when the hour is over. They jump from one thing to the next as they try to fill their void; most of them reminisce and wish they had reason to wake early and sleep late.

I think it all boils down to happiness. As I expressed in the fifth paragraph, we are all addicts. A comparison between my sister and I is a clear cut example of how our addictive personalities in this world is becoming an epidemic. I wake up with no reason or set plan for the day and immediately smoke or pop pills to fill the day that I have no plans for. On the other hand, after exiting my room with clouds of smoke behind me and pills working their way down my esophagus, my sister is sitting in the den listening to music and nothing else. She is content to do nothing but let the music saturate her thoughts. I always ask her: how can you be so relaxed, so happy, so easily amused? I am always responded with the same thing: RJ you just need to relax and enjoy things right now. They`re not always going to be this way, so enjoy it while it lasts. And that`s what she`s doing: she`s enjoying her present life while I worry over the future and sulk over the past. I can never be happy with the now.

I believe this is how America is progressively functioning. From the tree huggers in the rain forest to the uberreligious nuts who preach the end of days; from the teachers who worry about their students` education to the President who worries about his next job instead of the issues of a nation; from the criminal masterminds in prisons across the world to the victimized children of broken homes; from the high-class yuppies who engineer ways to scam people out of money to the low-class chumps who happily give it away for the chance of making something back in return; from the newborns being fed Mozart through their mobiles to the adolescent demographic being corrupted by illegal things and such; from the down and out veteran to the soon-to-be idolized soldiers of the current war; from the men in leather suits hanging around gay bars to women crying by the phone waiting for their husband that will never come back home; we are all addicts of the past and the future, junkies of times that can not be reached or re-reached.

Do we, as a world-wide demographic, need a new start or should we continue with our own addictive demise? Should we be allowed to self-destruct? Sometimes I wonder if that`s what we were set-up to do. If we are cosmically determined to self-destruct, and we are all well aware of it, why can we not learn to enjoy the good times we have left instead of sulking and wondering about the inevitable past and future?